|Publication number||US7950790 B2|
|Application number||US 11/850,279|
|Publication date||May 31, 2011|
|Filing date||Sep 5, 2007|
|Priority date||Sep 11, 2006|
|Also published as||CN101143520A, CN101143520B, US20080062231|
|Publication number||11850279, 850279, US 7950790 B2, US 7950790B2, US-B2-7950790, US7950790 B2, US7950790B2|
|Inventors||Koichi Kubo, Yasuo Kotaki, Tetsuya Ohashi, Hitoshi Takada, Ryoji Inoue, Hideki Ogura|
|Original Assignee||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (27), Non-Patent Citations (2), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to an ink container and an ink jet recording apparatus. More specifically, the present invention relates to a constitution with respect to a connection between an ink suction operation of the ink container and an ink introducing portion of a recording head.
In recent years, an ink jet recording apparatus such as an ink jet printer having advantages of providing a high-quality recording image and less noise has been widely used. Particularly, the ink jet recording apparatus can be produced as a relatively small-size printer, so that a personal printer has been developed in many cases. In such a personal printer, a user replaces an ink jet cartridge integrally constituted by an ink container and a recording head to supply ink. Particularly, a constitution in which only the ink container is replaced can cut running costs when compared with a constitution in which the ink container is replaced together with the recording head.
With respect to such a replaceable ink container, Japanese Laid-Open Patent Application (JP-A) Hei 09-300646 has proposed a constitution for ensuring safety of user and inclusion of air during mounting and demounting of the ink container. Particularly, in FIGS. 5 to 7 of JP-A Hei 09-300646, a constitution in which a press-contact member (capillary member) is provided to an ink supply portion of the ink container has been disclosed. The press-contact member is constituted by an absorbing member, so that the press-contact member holds ink led from the inside of the ink container and discharges the ink, held depending on a change in negative pressure by ejection of the ink from a recording head, into a supply passage.
As the ink contained or accommodated in the ink container, dye ink using a dye as a colorant has been principally used. On the other hand, pigment ink using a pigment as the colorant has been put into practical use as ink which is improved in light and weather resistances of print to satisfy a performance required for the uses such as print for outdoor notice.
However, the pigment is dispersion-type coloring material, so that the pigment ink causes settling of pigment particles in the ink container. For example, in the case where the ink container is left standing for a long time while being mounted to the ink jet printer, the pigment particles are gradually settled in the ink container. For this reason, in the ink container, concentration gradient of the pigment particles occurs from a bottom toward an upper portion of the ink container. As a result, the ink located at the bottom of the ink container is increased in pigment particle concentration to form an excessively highly colored layer. On the other hand, the ink located at the upper portion of the ink container is decreased in pigment particle concentration to form an excessively lightly colored layer.
In the case where the ink in the ink container is led and supplied from the bottom of the ink container, first, ink having a high pigment particle concentration is supplied, so that an excessively highly colored image is recorded. That is, there is a possibility of an occurrence of a difference in recording (image) density between a recording image at an initial stage of the use of the ink container and a recording image at a late stage of the use of the ink container. Such a phenomenon is particularly noticeable in color recording for recording a color image on the basis of darkness of color.
In order to solve the problem, JP-A 2004-216761 has disclosed a constitution in which a stirring member movable by an inertial force generated by reciprocating motion of a carriage is disposed inside an ink container. By the reciprocating motion of the carriage, the stirring member is operated to stir the ink in the ink container. As a result, pigment particles in the ink can be prevented from causing concentration gradient thereof.
However, the stirring constitution described in JP-A 2004-216761 is effective only in suppressing settling of ink at a portion in which the ink is contained. In the case of the ink container provided with the press-contact member as described in JP-A Hei 09-300646, for example, a problem of the high pigment particle concentration of the ink which has already been present in the press-contact member cannot be solved.
In the case of using the press-contact member, uniformization of concentration of ink in the press-contact member is generally realized by employing a method in which high concentration ink in the press-contact member is removed by a suction operation from a main assembly of a recording apparatus.
Incidentally, the ink container is designed so that ink can be supplied in an amount corresponding to a recording speed of a recording head to be mounted. In this case, e.g., a size of a supply port of the ink container corresponds to the above described ink supply amount or an ink flow rate. Thus, in the case where a recording head providing a high ink flow rate is newly developed, it is necessary to develop a new ink container having a supply port capable of supplying ink at a flow rate corresponding to the ink flow rate of the recording head. As a result, with remarkable evolution of ink and a recording speed in recent years, types of ink containers are increased year by year to require considerable expenses for developing the new ink container and investment in plant and equipment for producing various models of printers.
Accordingly, in order to efficiently reduce production cost to provide an inexpensive product, it is desirable that an ink container meeting a recording speed of the future is developed to prevent an increase in the number of models of the product and reduce the cost of developing the new ink container. As one means for that purpose, a large opening (planar) area of an ink supply port of the ink container is designed in advance so that it is possible to realize a common ink container capable of meeting the increase in flow rate.
However, in the ink container including the press-contact member provided at the ink supply port as disclosed in JP-A Hei 09-300646, the press-contact member is used in common for realizing commonality of the opening area of the supply port. Accordingly, a size of the press-contact member is increased in correspondence with the opening area of the supply port. In the case of mounting the ink container to a recording head providing a relatively small flow rate, all of the ink held by the press-contact member cannot be removed by a suction operation in some cases. More specifically, a planar area of the opening of the supply port of the recording head contacting the press-contact member is smaller than a planar area of the press-contact member, so that the ink cannot be sucked from the press-contact member at portions located outside the supply port opening by the suction operation in some cases. Accordingly, the high concentration ink which cannot be removed by the suction operation and remains in the press-contact member gradually diffuses in the press-contact member after the suction operation, so that the high concentration ink can be finally discharged to the recording head. As a result, the recording head discharges the high concentration ink to cause image density non-uniformity of print in some cases.
A principal object of the present invention is to provide an ink container capable of being used in recording heads different in ink flow rate without being adversely affected by a pigment particle concentration or the like of ink held in a press-contact member.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an ink jet recording apparatus using the ink container.
According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided an ink container, for containing ink, including a supply port for supplying the ink to a recording head, the ink container comprising:
a press-contact member connectable to an ink introducing portion of the recording head at the supply port,
wherein the press-contact member has a plurality of conducting areas in which the ink is movable and an area which defines a boundary between the conducting areas and substantially isolates the conducting areas from each other.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided an ink jet recording apparatus for effecting recording by using a recording head for ejecting ink, comprising:
mounting means to which the ink container, for containing the ink, including a supply port for supplying the ink to the recording head is detachably mountable; and
suction means for sucking the ink through the recording head in a state in which the supply port of the ink container and an ink introducing portion are connected to each other,
wherein the ink container includes a press-contact member which is connectable to the ink introducing portion of the recording head at the supply port and has a plurality of conducting areas in which the ink is movable and an area, defining a boundary between a plurality of conducting areas and substantially isolating the conducting areas from each other, in which the ink is non-conductible, and
wherein the suction means is capable of sucking all of ink contained in a conducting area in contact with the ink introducing portion.
According to the above-described constitutions, movement of ink between the conducting areas is prevented by the non-conducting area of the press-contact member. Therefore, ink which does not contact the ink introducing portion of the recording head and remains in the press-contact member is not moved to other conducting areas. As a result, it is possible to prevent the high concentration ink from being discharged into the recording head and thus from adversely affecting a recording image.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon a consideration of the following description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Hereinbelow, embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the drawings.
An ink container T00 is a container for containing or accommodating ink T05 and has a casing thereof constituted by a container body T01 and a cap member T02 as shown in
Inside the ink container T00, as shown in
At the bottom surface of the ink reservoir chamber T04 with respect to the gravitational direction, the ink supply portion T03 is provided and constitutes a flow passage which communicates with the recording head by contact with a supply passage leading to the recording head. The ink supply portion T03 is provided with a meniscus-forming member T07 and a press-contact member T06 as shown in
The ink conducting areas SA1 to SA3 are, as described above, areas constituting a flow passage for moving the ink T05 toward the recording head side when the ink container is connected to the recording head. Further, the ink conducting areas SA1 to SA3 have, as particularly shown in
The ink non-conducting areas SB1 and SB2 are formed by sandwiching a flat plate-like press-contact member T06 between processing hones and heat-fusing the press-contact member while compressing the press-contact member, followed by cooling for solidification. That is, of areas constituting the press-contact member, the ink non-conducting area is an area by which an area in which the ink is movable in the ink supply direction toward the recording head is separated. As means for fusing the press-contact member, in this embodiment, an impulse heater capable of rapid heating and rapid cooling is used. However, the fusing means is not limited to the impulse heater but may also employ fusing by frictional heat such as ultrasonic wave. The heat-fusing by the processing hones may be performed only in one direction with respect to the press-contact member and is only required to prevent movement of the ink between the ink conducting areas. The shape of the ink non-conducting area is only required to continuously extend in a direction intersecting a flow direction (indicated by arrows) of the ink from an end of the press-contact member toward the ink supply port as shown in
The ink non-conducting areas SB1 and SB2, as shown in
As shown in
In the case shown in
Next, action of the above constituted ink container of this embodiment will be described.
On the other hand, in the conventional ink container provided with the (conventional) press-contact member, as shown in
As shown in
On the other hand, in the ink container T00 of this embodiment, the settling state of the ink is shown in
As described above, in order to obviate the influence of the ink having the non-uniform colorant concentration on a recording quality, it is desirable that the ink conducting area SA2 contacting the filter H01 has a size capable of removal of all the ink held in the ink conducting area SA2 by the suction operation. This is because the high concentration ink can be removed by the suction operation even when the high concentration ink remains in the ink conducting area SA2. With reference to
Each of the above designed two types of the press-contact members T06 is incorporated into an ink container T00 filled with ink corresponding to high concentration ink in which pigment particles are placed in an advanced settling state. Each of the resultant ink containers is mounted to a printer to which a recording head H00 provided with the filter H01 having the contact area SF is also mounted, and is subjected to stirring and a suction operation.
Prints obtained by recording immediately after the stirring and the suction operation (“after stirring”) and prints obtained by recording after the ink container was subjected to the stirring and the suction operation and was then left standing for 3.5 hours at 60° C. (“after standing”) were prepared. Each of the thus prepared prints was compared with a print obtained by recording with fresh ink having a uniform pigment concentration to evaluate a state of (image) density non-uniformity. More specifically, images obtained by the recording were compared at each of density levels from 0 to 32 to determine a color difference ΔE at a predetermined point. The color difference ΔE means a difference in color between two colors in a color space and can be obtained as a numerical value on the basis of a calorimetric system such as Munsell calorimetric system, L*a*b* calorimetric system, L*C*h* calorimetric system, Hunter Lab calorimetric system, or XYZ calorimetric system. When the difference in color (ΔE) between two colors obtained from the calorimetric system is smaller, a better image is obtained. When the color difference (ΔE) is larger, a resultant image is worsened by eye observation. In this experimental embodiment, when ΔE exceeds 6, the image is judged as a no-good image.
The evaluation results are shown in Table 1.
SF:SH = 1:1.3
SF:SH = 1:2
Good or Fair
As a result of the experimental embodiment described above, it is confirmed that a lowering in recording quality in terms of density non-uniformity is not caused at a certain areal ratio or less. In the ink container of this embodiment, as shown in Table 1, it has been confirmed that it is possible to effect good recording when the planar area ratio between the non-contact area SH of the filter H01 with the ink conducting area SA2 and the contact area SF of the filter H01 with the ink conducting area SA2 is SF:SH=1:1.3 or less. The above experimental results vary depending on differences in setting factors such as a suction performance of a printer in terms of the used ink, so that the SF:SH ratio may appropriately be changed depending on the factors.
As shown in
The contact area SF of the filter H01 is separated by the ink non-conducting areas SB1 and SB2. More specifically, contact areas SF1, SF2 and SF3 are located in the ink conducting areas SA1, SA2 and SA3, respectively. In this case, non-contact areas SH1, SH2 and SH3 are located adjacent to the contact areas SF1, SF2 and SF3, respectively. By applying the above described experimental results to this case, sizes of the press-contact member T06 and the filter H01 and determined so that planar areal ratios, for the ink conducting areas SA1 to SA3, between contact areas SFn (n=1, 2 and 3) and non-contact areas SHn (n=1, 2 and 3) satisfy SFn:SHn=1:1.3 or less. As a result, even when the recording head contacting the press-contact member is changed, it is possible to ensure commonalty of the ink container of this embodiment with respect to the recording heads before and after the change. Incidentally, the filter H01 has portions corresponding to the ink non-conducting areas SB1 and SB2 of the press-contact member. These portions are ineffective areas, so that it is necessary to design the filter H01 in consideration of these ineffective portions.
As shown in
The contact area SF of the filter H01 is separated by the ink non-conducting area SB2. More specifically, contact areas SF2 and SF3 are located in the ink conducting areas SA2 and SA3, respectively. In this case, non-contact areas SH2 and SH3 are located adjacent to the contact areas SF2 and SF3, respectively. By applying the above described experimental results to this case, sizes of the press-contact member T06 and the filter H01 and determined so that planar areal ratios, for the ink conducting areas SA2 and SA3, between contact areas SFn (n=2 and 3) and non-contact areas SHn (n=2 and 3) satisfy SFn:SHn=1:1.3 or less. As a result, even when the recording head contacting the press-contact member is changed, it is possible to ensure commonality of the ink container of this embodiment with respect to the recording heads before and after the change. Incidentally, the filter H01 has portion corresponding to the ink non-conducting area SB2 of the press-contact member. This portion is an ineffective area, so that it is necessary to design the filter H01 in consideration of this ineffective portion similarly as in the above case described with reference to
In First Embodiment described above, the shape of the ink non-conducting areas SBn is a linear shape in order to minimize the ineffective area of the filter H01 when the large (maximum) flow rate-recording head is connected to the press-contact member. However, in the present invention, the shape of the ink non-conducting areas is not limited to the linear shape.
For example, the shape may be an elongated looped shape such that an ink non-conducting area SB1 is closed as shown in
The number of the ink non-conducting areas SBn is 2 in First Embodiment in order to realize commonality of the ink container with respect to the above described three types of the recording heads but is not limited to 2 in the present invention. As shown in
In First Embodiment the ink container is used for containing the pigment ink but the ink used in the present invention is not limited to the pigment ink. Even in the case of an ink container containing ink using a dye as a colorant, e.g., viscosity-increased ink can adversely affects a recording result. More specifically, as described with reference to
When an image is recorded on the recording sheet, a recording operation and a conveying operation are repeated. In the recording operation, the recording head ejects the ink from the ink ejection outlets while moving together with the carriage M4001 and the ink container in the main scanning direction. In the conveying operation, the recording sheet is conveyed in a predetermined amount in the sub-scanning direction. By repeating the recording operation and the conveying operation, an image is successively recorded on the recording sheet.
At one end portion of a movement path of the carriage M4001, a refreshing unit is provided and performs operations of wiping, preliminary ejection, and suction. By these operations, it is possible to maintain an ejection performance of the recording head in good condition. A suction amount by the suction operation is, as described above, designed so that all the ink held in the ink conducting area can be removed depending on a planar area of the ink conducting area in the press-contact member T06.
As described above, the ink container according to the present invention includes the press-contact member at the ink supply portion and is constituted so that the ink container can be used in common with respect to recording heads different in flow rate. By realizing commonality of the press-contact member, it is possible to cut out the need of development of an ink container for each development of a new recording head in terms of an ink flow rate (supply amount). Thus, it is possible to reduce development cost and investment in plant and equipment. As a result, it is possible to reduce production cost of the ink container, so that an inexpensive ink can be provided.
While the invention has been described with reference to the structures disclosed herein, it is not confined to the details set forth and this application is intended to cover such modifications or changes as may come within the purpose of the improvements or the scope of the following claims.
This application claims priority from Japanese Patent Application No. 246045/2006 filed Sep. 11, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
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|JP2004216761A||Title not available|
|JPH09300646A||Title not available|
|KR100612450B1||Title not available|
|KR20060020052A||Title not available|
|KR20060033325A||Title not available|
|1||Korean Notice of Allowance dated May 31, 2010, from corresponding Korean Application No. 10-2007-0091556.|
|2||Korean Office Action dated Jun. 30, 2009 from corresponding Korean Application No. 10-2007-0091556.|
|U.S. Classification||347/86, 347/85, 347/84|
|Cooperative Classification||B41J2/17523, B41J2/17526|
|European Classification||B41J2/175C4, B41J2/175C3A|
|Nov 8, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KUBO, KOICHI;KOTAKI, YASUO;OHASHI, TETSUYA;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:020082/0009;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070904 TO 20070905
Owner name: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KUBO, KOICHI;KOTAKI, YASUO;OHASHI, TETSUYA;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070904 TO 20070905;REEL/FRAME:020082/0009
|Jan 9, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|May 31, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jul 21, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20150531